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Singer-songwriter Delbert McClinton plays whatever he's in the mood to play

"Acquired Taste" is a fitting title for Delbert McClinton's latest album.

The underheralded roots-rocker, who will perform Saturday night at the Cotillion, doesn't play by music industry rules.

"I didn't know there were rules," McClinton said during a telephone interview from Austin.

If McClinton, 69, knew of such regulations, he would defy them anyway.

McClinton is a rebel, a musician who likes to call the shots. The quirky singer-songwriter has no problem delivering country, blues, soul, R&B or rock.

"I play whatever I'm in the mood to play," he said. "I don't follow a formula. I just do what I feel."

McClinton realizes that his music mix isn't sugary. "Nobody likes me at first," he wrote on the "Acquired Taste" liner notes.

"I was just joking about that," McClinton said. "I don't mean that. I'm just not like everybody else."

If McClinton were like most of his peers, he would be on the nostalgia circuit, but "Acquired Taste" and 2005's "Cost of Living" are two of his finest efforts of the last quarter century.

"I have to make new music," McClinton said. "I'm not someone who wants to go out on a retro trip. That would mean that I'm over the hill and I hate to think of myself as over the hill. In a lot of ways, I still feel like I did 40 years ago."

McClinton's voice isn't the same as it was during his salad days, though. There are signs of wear and tear but it doesn't matter since he delivers his lyrics in such a soulful manner.

The man who wrote the country chart-topper "Two More Bottles of Wine" for Emmylou Harris has much to say.

"I'm still living life," he said. "I'm still observing and thinking. I still have plenty to contribute as a songwriter and as a performer."

McClinton can make records on his own but he was more than happy to work with producer Don Was on his latest project.

"I found out that Don wanted to work with me," McClinton said. "He contacted my label (New West Records) and it was set up. I've worked with Don before on some projects. He has a good ear and he made it a fun record to do. He's a walking encyclopedia of music. I didn't regret one minute of that production."

McClinton plans on keeping busy during his 70s. "I see no reason to stop now," he said. "I feel good and I still have a lot to give. You'll continue to hear new material and see me out there on the road."

If you go

Delbert McClinton

What: Singer-songwriter and guitarist

Where: Cotillion, 11120 W. Kellogg

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

How much: Tickets $25 in advance; $28 day of show. Tickets available at Select-A-Seat outlets, the Cotillion, House of Sight & Sound and employee clubs, unless otherwise noted. Credit card orders, 316-722-4201 or www.thecotillion.com.

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